Is High School in America Really Like the Movies?

High School hallway showing student lockers

Dancing in the hallways, major sporting events and food fights. Thanks to many movies and television shows, that is what the world thinks high school in America is like.

But is it really like the movies?

Here’s our perspective.

Perception:  High Schools in America Break Out in Song and Dance.

Movies and television shows like High School Musical give the impression that students in America tend to randomly break out in song.

Reality:  There are Opportunities to Sing and Dance, Just Not in the Middle of the School Day.

We regret to inform our international friends that American High School students do not sing and dance in the middle of class. However, that is not to say there are no opportunities to perform. Many of the schools here in North America offer many chances to get involved with plays, musicals, and other similar types of clubs.


The MacDuffie School recently had their Spring Musical, “Once Upon a Mattress.”

So while you should not expect to be singing and dancing through math class, international exchange students will have plenty of opportunities to use their artistic abilities in many other ways.

Perception:  High School Sports in America Are a Big Deal.

American high schools are portrayed to have massive amounts of school spirit, especially when it comes to sports.

Reality:  At Some High Schools, This is Very True.

Unlike the previous myth, this one can be true!  Sports, especially football, can bring together students, teachers, and the community, to cheer on their local high school team. Just check out the high school football stadium in the video below.

The stadium cost nearly $60 million to build, and can hold upwards of 20,000 people.  This size and cost is higher than many university stadiums around the United States.  So if school pride is something you are looking for, American high school can certainly provide it.

Perception:  Foods Fights are a Common Occurrence.

In many American movies and television shows, the school cafeteria is the battleground for food fights.  In many of these scenes, students are frequently shown to throw their lunch across the room.

Reality:  Food Fights Rarely Occur.

The truth is, while students may joke about trying to have a food fight, the chances of actually experiencing one are rare! Students may talk about trying to have one, but that is about is far as it will get.  When it comes down to it, the chances of getting into trouble, and the mess it actually causes, make students think twice about having a food fight.

What other American high school myths are you curious about?

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